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Quick Friday snow for Charlottesville, then a frigid weekend

The last of the wintry precipitation moves across Virginia on Friday morning, then the wind and cold take top billing into the weekend. Unlike the storm last Monday, it will move faster, produce less snow, and miss many locations farther east of the Blue Ridge entirely.

As a result, snow totals will be far less from Charlottesville to Culpeper, and any accumulating snow will be finished by noon, if not sooner. The window for snow will already be open long before daybreak, and locations immediately north of Charlottesville — Culpeper, Greene, Madison and Orange Counties — have the best chance of getting an inch or two of accumulation before the snow shuts down for the afternoon.

Across Charlottesville and Albemarle County, a coating to an inch will cover most spots, with similar amounts westward across Afton Mountain into Waynesboro. Be on the lookout for snow-dusted roads first thing on Friday morning, but as the sun comes out in the afternoon, melting will begin to take place on the pavement and the winds will pick up enough to dry the primary roads and most secondary roads before dark.

Those winds increase from the northwest in the afternoon and temperatures will drop quickly through the 20s once the sun sets. Wind chills early Friday evening hover in the teens before the 15-25 mph winds edge back by midnight.

Both days this weekend will be sunny, but Saturday will be a few degrees colder and certainly windier. Most of Saturday stays below 30 degrees, and with the gusty winds returning, wind chills will be in the teens even during the warmest part of the day.

A polar cell of high pressure settles over Virginia Saturday night, so the winds finally relax, but because the air will be so dry, it will cool very easily once the sun sets, sending temperatures by daybreak Sunday between 5 and 15 degrees. Locations with snow on the ground will be on the lower side of that threshold, and some traditionally cold, quiet spots along Skyline Drive may get awfully close to zero.

This level of cold is not record-breaking, but it is rare. Be sure to dress in layers if heading outside, as layers of clothing keep the body warm more effectively compared to a single heavy coat.

Sunday temperatures will be in the 30s, and there will be much less wind around, so it will feel better to be outside. After a Sunday night in the teens to near 20, a quick moderation in temperatures returns next week, with rain coming back into the forecast and temperatures in the 50s by Wednesday.

In spite of the cold weekend, a January thaw is right around the corner.


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